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We are what we wear? 

Ranger Rich

Next week we'll plop into favorite chairs in front of our TVs as the athletes of the United States march and wave and cry tears of joy at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics, each and every athlete hoping that swimmer Michael Phelps doesn't get trampled when he stops and squats down to pick up his roach clip.

Seriously, as our athletes appear in London's Olympic Stadium, some 5,000 miles away a billion Chinese will rise to their feet and proclaim with great pride, "Qxien-jiang" or "Ha-ha-ha, we made those uniforms because Americans, they cannot even sew."

Team USA's clothes for opening and closing ceremonies has created a bit of controversy because, like everything else we own, they were not made here. As you know, we no longer make anything. The last known item made in America was Mitt Romney's hair, which in 1988 was carefully carved from a 60-pound block of Eastern white oak harvested near Bangor, Maine.

The opening ceremony uniforms were the work of famed clothing designer Ralph Lauren, who says proudly on his website: "Ralph Lauren has always stood for providing quality products, creating worlds and inviting people to take part in our dream."

Ralph chose those iconic words because they are better than: "Making cheap clothes in Chinese sweatshops and selling them at exorbitant prices, thanks to LynN'dah in our marketing department."

News of Team USA's clothing being made in China came out last week. Here are a few samples of the coverage by the media:

Christian Science Monitor: "Ralph Lauren? NBC? Visa? McDonalds? They are the lifeblood of American Olympic success because they pay to be associated with the brand."

CNN: "The controversy cast a spotlight on the plight of the U.S. textile industry, which has been hit hard in recent years by outsourcing and the economic downturn."

Our own Gazette in Colorado Springs: "The Olympics are this year?"

U.S. Olympic Committee communications director Patrick Sandusky probably didn't help matters when he said, "All this talk about Olympic uniforms made in China is nonsense."

When I read that remark I, like you, was left with just one thought: Considering the staggering news in the past six months about Penn State, this is sure a lousy time to be named Sandusky.

"I am so upset," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nursing Home. "I think the Olympic Committee should be ashamed of themselves. I think they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them."

Republicans said they would go along with that fiery plan as long as they could use Rep. Nancy Pelosi as kindling wood.

Our own intellectual firecracker, Rep. Doug Lamborn, is also angry about the clothes. He said he doesn't own anything made by the Chinese because he's still mad at them for bombing Pearl Harbor.

Anyway, the uniforms include red and navy ties, double-breasted blazers and cream-colored pants with cuffs. (The female shot-putters get an additional small pocket on their blazers to hold their beard trimmers. Also, swimmer Phelps' blazer will have a pocket large enough for a bong.)

Footnote: Women's soccer goalie Hope "Not Doing It" Solo, who reported that the last Olympics became a sex festival for the athletes, said her outfit looks great — in a pile on the floor next to a Ukranian weightlifter's bed. (She said she plans to get a gold medal in soccer and might also earn a silver medal in the pole vault, if you know what I mean.)

Here in our village, USOC chief executive officer Scott Blackmun said it's too late to re-do the London outfits but said the athletes' clothing for the 2014 Winter Games in Russia will definitely be made in America. Because of unions, each pair of American-made pants will cost an estimated $67,000 and will tear in the buttocks region the first time the athlete bends over.

"Our country should be proud of the individual athletes that will represent them in London," said USOC boss Blackmun, "and I'm hopeful that everyone will rally around Team USA."

I think I speak for all of us when I say, Scott, you can count on us here in Colorado Springs and across this great land we call America to roar our approval next Friday. And you can count on the Chinese, too.

rangerrich@csindy.com

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